The weather was perfect, said Stephen Marthy, winner of the 2017 All-American Marathon, Sunday. The mild temperatures helped push him to a field-best marathon time of 2:40:01, with a 6:07 mile split.
Marthy is the company commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and is the first active-duty Soldier to win the marathon.
“I just tried to stay focused and thought about everyone that’s serving overseas,” Marthy said. “I’m doing it for them.”
Many of those serving overseas also participated in the weekend’s races during a shadow run. Around 200 deployed Soldiers from Fort Bragg ran half marathons in Kuwait and Iraq, Saturday.
The All-American Marathon is a USA Track and Field-certified race, and Marthy said he was also motivated to use it as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
The race was his first since suffering serious internal bleeding during a parachute jump in January 2016. It was also the first time Marthy, who ran during high school and at the United States Military Academy at West Point, won a marathon.
“My goal was to get under three hours but I ended up really shattering that goal,” he said. “I was cruising up until mile 18 and then I started getting lightheaded and my legs started getting that gumby-like feeling, so then I ... took a power gel to try to get some energy going.”
Marthy said he started to pick up his pace again around mile 25 and then used all his remaining energy to push through the last mile.
Sara Day, the first woman to finish this year’s marathon, also said it was a beautiful day. As a first time All-American Marathon participant, she appreciated the structure of the course.
“It was a really good course — not too hilly, but not too flat.
Day is a member of the North Carolina National Guard and used the race as training for the upcoming National Guard Marathon. She finished eighth overall with a time of 3:13:14 and said she would “definitely” participate in the All-American Marathon again.
Another first-timer impressed with the race was Ed Salau, a handcylist with Operation Enduring Warrior. He said his friend talked him into participating in the race the week before the event.
“Everybody had a great attitude,” Salau said. “All the volunteers and police said good morning as we came by; that was nice.”
Before the race, Salau wasn’t too worried about the elevation of the course, but said he was proved wrong.
“I just texted my wife — these hills make the Marine Corps Marathon look easy.”
Race officials said they saw in increase in participation over last year’s races, with over 3,500 taking part in one of the three races. For more photos, visit the Paraglide’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BraggParaglide.